Despite his best efforts to avoid war by appeasing Hitler, Neville Chamberlain (on the 3rd of September, 1939) announces a state of war between Britain and Germany and appoints Winston First Lord of the Admiralty.
"We are back in power," exclaims Churchill. "Now that I am in charge of the Navy, Mr. Hitler and his Nazi thugs had better look out. We're going to teach them a lesson they'll never forget."
Arriving at the Admiralty, where Churchill had previously served as First Lord between 1911-1915, Winston learns that everyone already knows he is returning. How? Earlier in the day, the Admiralty Board had sent a signal to the fleet. It was a simple message:
Winston is back.
Eight months later, at nearly 65 years of age, Churchill becomes Prime Minister after Neville Chamberlain resigned.
In his first speech as PM, Winston describes the devotion he brings to office:
I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.
With an unwavering belief in his country, Winston Churchill (with the help of his Allies) leads Britain to victory within five years. Prime Minister once more, between 1951 and 1955, he retires from public life in 1955 (at 80 years old).
Churchill lives another decade. After his death, at age 90, he is buried behind St. Martin's, a small church in Bladon, England—very near Blenheim Palace (where he was born).
Clementine dies twelve years later, of a heart attack, on the 12th of December, 1977. Ninety-two at her death, she is buried next to her husband.
Following a nationwide poll in November of 2002, during which more than 1 million votes are cast, Sir Winston Churchill is voted the "greatest Briton of all time."
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 1
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 2
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 3
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 4
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 5
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 6
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 7
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 8
Churchill - The Gathering Storm, Part 9
Clip from The Gathering Storm, a BBC-HBO television drama based on Volume I of Winston Churchill's six-part, Noble-Prize winning WWII chronicle. (The first volume is also called The Gathering Storm).
For additional background, see Winston and Clementine - The Personal Letters of the Churchills, edited by their daughter Mary.
Not everyone agrees with Churchill's analysis of events leading up to the war. See, for example, this article by Professor John Charmley.
Clip from The Gathering Storm, online courtesy BBC's WorldWide Channel at YouTube. Copyright, BBC, all rights reserved. Clip provided here for educational purposes.
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